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2008 Custom 4x4 Buggy - 2008 Top Truck Challenge Finalist

Posted in Project Vehicles on November 1, 2008
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The foundation of this completely custom machine is the tube chassis. It's fashioned from 2-, 1.750-, and 1.500-inch 0.120-wall DOM tubing. This fat-free, ultra-functional, rugged chassis was designed with an amazing number of neat ideas including full underbody removable skidplating and integrated winch mounts for the front and rear T-Max EWI-12000 winches. Each winch is equipped with 7/16-inch synthetic winch line, and integrated axle mounts allow Morris to use the winches to control the axles when necessary. The rig is infused with powerful lighting that includes four forward-facing Lazer Star lights and two rear-facing Lazer Star lights. If the tires look big that's because they are. The 49-inch IROKs are mounted to 14-inch-wide Stazworks double internal beadlocks.

We've always wondered what a college grad with a double business major and a passion for four-wheeling would build if given the opportunity. OK, truth be told we can't handle thinking that hard. But if you've ever wondered, you're looking at it right now. As a matter of fact, you voted it into this year's Top Truck Challenge. Scott Morris, Indiana University graduate and owner of Sunfire Off Road, figures he has over $100,000 and 3,000 hours into this state-of-the-art machine and he's ready to show what it's capable of.

Specifications
Owner name/city: Scott Morris/Sunman, Indiana
Occupation: Owner, Sunfire Off Road
Vehicle model: 2008 custom buggy
Estimated value: $100,000
Engine/aspiration: 502ci V-8, Accel DFI 1,200-cfm direct injection, Merlin-X intake, Sanderson Blockhugger headers, Jet Hot-coated custom 3-inch-diameter dual exhaust, Jet Hot-coated 4-inch-diameter resonators, Jet Hot-coated 5-inch SuperTrapp mufflers
Transmission(s): Coan TH400, Art Carr reverse manual valve body, B&M cooler
Transfer case: Atlas 10.3:1 four-speed
Suspension (f/r): Four-link, King 2.5 18-inch triple-rate coilover shocks, Fox 2.0 air bumpstops, Currie Antirock sway bars, four Beard Quad limiting straps/Four-link, King 2.5 18-inch triple-rate coilover shocks, Fox 2.0 air bumpstops, Currie Antirock sway bars, four Beard Quad limiting straps
Axles (f/r): Dana 80, Rockwell 2 1/2-ton outers, custom CTM 300M 40-spline inner axleshafts, custom Ouverson 47-spline outer axleshafts, 16-inch Wilwood brakes, Ouverson Super 8 eight-lug conversion, ARB Air Locker/Dana 80, Rockwell 2 1/2-ton outers, custom CTM 300M 40-spline inner axleshafts, custom Ouverson 47-spline outer axleshafts, 16-inch Wilwood brakes, Ouverson Super 8 eight-lug conversion, ARB Air Locker
Axle ratio: 5.38:1
Wheels: 20x14 Stazworks double internal beadlock
Tires: 49x21.0-20 Super Swamper IROKs

The rear axle is a duplicate of the front axle all the way down to its very-end-of-chassis location and its hydraulic steering powered by its own specific engine-driven pump. The Dana 80 has Rockwell outers, full trussing, custom 40-spline CTM 300M inner axleshafts, custom Ouverson 47-spline outers, 5.38:1 gears, 16-inch Wilwood rotors, Ouverson six-piston billet steel calipers, an Ouverson Super 8 conversion, and a Powertank-fed ARB Air Locker. Like the front it's spun by a CV 'shaft with 1410 joints. The rear suspension mirrors the front too. It's a four-link system with 18-inch King 2.5 triple-rate coilover shocks, Fox 2.0 air bumpstops, and four Beard Quad limiting straps. A couple things to note regarding the suspension and axles: The rig's upper four-link bars are dimensionally the same front to rear as are the lower four-link bars so fewer parts have to be carried. Also, as you can see, items such as the double-ended steering ram, the steering componentry, and the brake calipers are hidden high and behind the axles to lessen the potential for damage.

Packed tightly under the hood is a whompin' 502ci big-block that Morris estimates to produce 520 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque. This bad boy has a Merlin-X high-rise intake, Sanderson Blockhugger headers and a slew of Accel performance parts including DFI fuel injection. Other underhood components include dual power-steering pumps, a C&R Radiator with dual 16-inch Spal electric fans and Spal shrouds, Amsoil dual-bypass oil filter system, a custom Jet Hot-coated exhaust system, Powermaster 300-amp alternator, Cyclone air filter, and a pair of Kinetic batteries. Mated to the big-block is a Coan TH400 transmission with Art Carr manual valve body, a TCI heavy-duty flexplate, a B&M cooler, and a Moroso aluminum pan with baffles. Power is split to the High Angle Driveline-built CV driveshafts with 1410 joints via an Atlas 10.3:1 four-speed transfer case.

Pushed out to the very front of the chassis is a trick, heavily-trussed Dana 80 axle with Rockwell outers. This ultra-stout, unique axle has custom 40-spline CTM 300M inner axleshafts, custom Ouverson 47-spline outers, 5.38:1 cogs, 16-inch Wilwood rotors, Ouverson six-piston billet steel calipers, an Ouverson Super 8 conversion, an ARB Air Locker (powered by an onboard 15-gallon Powertank), and a Currie Antirock sway bar. The axle is spun by a stout High Angle Driveline CV 'shaft with 1410 joints. The suspension is comprised of a four-link system with 18-inch King 2.5 triple-rate coilover shocks, a pair of Fox 2.0 air-charged bumpstops, and four Beard Quad limiting straps. The lower four-link bars are equipped with Aurora chromoly 1.250-inch spherical rod ends and the upper bars have Aurora chromoly 7/8 spherical rod ends. A Howe full hydraulic steering with double-ended ram makes the big 49s easy to point.

The incredible custom interior was designed and built by Morris and it's an example of form and function. The long list of interior mods include Beard Super Series seats, Simpson five-point safety harnesses, a Grant steering wheel, an array of Auto Meter C2 gauges, a Sony marine head unit, and an Art Carr Gate Shifter. Those blue-knobbed levers in the center console are for the cutting brakes, and the aluminum-knobbed levers in the foreground are used to control the Atlas transfer case. Not visible is a black-knobbed lever for controlling the rear steering.

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